How to Beat the Back-to-Homeschool Blues

How do you feel about the fact that the new homeschool year is just weeks away??  Do you feel weighed down and/or overwhelmed?  Are you coming off of a summer that really wasn't restful, and you're wondering how to jump right into school with no real sense of having vacayed?  Are you still finishing up your grading/filing tasks from last year, hello, and not feeling motivated to turn right back around and do some more? Then this homeschool help is for you!  — And me too, lol.

These are great homeschool help ideas to help me get over the slump you're in right now! They could probably be used any time of the year, actually!

Full disclosure: I feel ya.  I do NOT feel rested.  I do NOT feel motivated.  I'd like to go back to bed for the rest of the year.  BUT WE CAN'T, LADIES.

In my usual spread-the-love-about-my-pain style, lol, I want to talk about ways to get our buttocks in gear for this new homeschool year.  Ways to make it seem less overwhelming, less like a chore.  More like we're being the amazing homeschool moms we want to be.

This will be my EIGHTEENTH year of homeschooling, y'all. There have been years I've been super excited to start homeschooling again, and years — like this one — when I've felt like I don't really want to do this right now.

So over the decades that time I've found ways to deal.  Because when I look at the big picture, I will always want to homeschool.  (See my post on why we homeschool to learn the big reason why we're in this for the long haul.)  That means that these tasks that seem overwhelming right now have got to be accomplished somehow.

So here is some homeschool help — ideas to get us out of the “why me” blues and into the “now we're cooking” phase of getting ready for the new homeschool year. Some of them are tried-and-true for me, and others are ones I will try for the first time this year.  But the neat thing is that just thinking about these things has already improved my attitude significantly. :-)

Related: Episode 62 – Big Picture Perspectives on the New School Year

Homeschool help for when you are not feeling up for back to school

1) Schedule a family day that can be your final hurrah of the summer.  Maybe a full day at the pool or a trip to the zoo or a baking extravaganza.  If you're like me and feel like this summer has NOT been much fun, then a celebration day can be the way to get over the doldrums and make at least one day the fun it should be.  Then there will be less bitterness as we start the school routine again.

2) Plan on starting slow the first week of school.  Did you know you don't have to jump into the deep end with a full day of work the first day?  Especially with littles, I always started with just one or two subjects the first day, adding one or two more each day for the first week or two, until we worked ourselves up to a full day.  That made my lesson planning that much easier, and we were able to ease into the change in our schedule.

3) Read something motivating.  Maybe a homeschooling book such as Sally Clarkson's Educating the Whole-Hearted Child, which is a perennial favorite of mine.  Or maybe a time management book, or a declutter your life and soul book like Ruth Soukup's Unstuffed.  Something that will make you WANT to get organized; something that will help you find solutions for whatever is weighing you down.  Is this a good time to remind you of the When You Want to Quit book that I wrote a few chapters in?  Yes, I think it might be… :-)

4) When it comes to curriculum-purchasing sticker shock — which can be a big part of back-to-school overwhelm — remember this key tip:  You don't have to buy EVERYTHING now.  Just buy enough to get you through the first semester, or even just the first few weeks.  You can always order more later.  The same applies to school supplies.  Sure, the sales may be happening now, but if the budget can't handle the whole enchilada, you might do better to only buy what you will need right away and save the rest of your purchases until you can scrape a little more money together.  Your peace of mind is worth it.

5) On the other side of the financial coin, try presenting yourself with a little pick-me-up as a reward for being a great homeschool mom who WILL (yes, she really will) get on top of all the back-to-school tasks. I recently purchased a new planner for myself from Plum Paper, and I'm so excited to start using it that my attitude has been improved enormously.  (Not to mention the cool pens I purchased to use with it…!) Maybe a new homeschool mom outfit, or a new bag to put all your books into for co-op, or even a new coffee mug would be in order.  Just a little sumpin' to make you smile.

6) One of the things I always do when I am feeling overwhelmed (although usually only after I've had a good pity party, lol) is to sit down and list onto a piece of paper everything that is looming.  It's basically a brain dump.  Everything I'm worried about or afraid of or know is coming up soon goes on the paper.  Sometimes it takes a day or two of leaving it on the kitchen counter and writing on it as I walk by to remember everything, but when I'm done I know exactly what I need to accomplish.  Then I take a look at my calendar and schedule everything to be done over the next few days or weeks.  While it may not all get accomplished on schedule, at least I know I have a plan — that' usually half the battle.  I do a great “couch potato with a swirling cloud of worries over my head that has no real form but keeps me from moving forward.”  Getting the worries down on paper helps me see that they are all mostly manageable.

7) I would be remiss if I did not steer us all back to our Bibles and to prayer to the God who loves us.  All of this is His calling for us right now, and He will give strength and provision to accomplish it.  As we lean on the truths of the Word and cling to Him in prayer, our load will be lightened considerably.  If not in circumstance, then certainly in our hearts.  Life of a Homeschool Mom is doing a back-to-school prayer challenge that may be just the ticket.

8) Commit to something that will FORCE you to get busy.  Maybe you can sign up to be a teacher at co-op.  Or you can schedule a presentation day for your kids at the local nursing home — which they must be ready for, hello.  Or you can plan a reward day at the park for the second Friday of the school year, that will only take place if x amount of work is done — for which you will have to make lesson plans.  See what I mean?  It's a form of accountability, a way to ensure that you will get your rear in gear in time to make these things happen.

9) Ask the hubby to take the children out of the house for an entire day, which you will then use to get hot and heavy into getting stuff done.  Sometimes just getting rid of all the kids distractions allows us to feel like we actually want to do what we're supposed to.

10) Set a timer for 25 minutes to tackle ONE task that you've been procrastinating over.  Don't worry about whether it's a task that will take 25 minutes or not.  Just set the timer and get to work.  You'll most likely be surprised by how much you get done.  If you are motivated to keep going after the timer dings, take a 5-minute break (also on the timer!) and then set it for another 25 and jump back in.  This is the technique I use with my easily distracted teenagers (which is all of them, lol).

Listen, ladies: We can do this thing!!  This homeschool year will be better than ever!! Use these homeschool help ideas to just get ‘er done!  HUGS!!

It's Not That Hard to Homeschool

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